The Kate - 164 U.S. 458 (1896)
U.S. Supreme Court
The Kate, 164 U.S. 458 (1896)
Argued January 6-7, 1896
Decided November 30, 1896
164 U.S. 458
A New York corporation owned and operated steamships plying between that port and Brazil. A Pennsylvania company was in the habit of supplying these ships with coal as ordered, charging the New York company therefor upon its books, and as further security for the running indebtedness, filed specifications of lien against the vessels under a statute of New York. Subsequently the New York company began to employ in their business other steamers under time charter parties which required the charterers to provide and pay for all coals furnished them, and the Pennsylvania company supplied these ships also with coals, knowing that they were not owned by the New York company and understanding, although not absolutely knowing, and not inquiring about it, that the charterers were required to provide and pay for all needed coals. None of such coals were supplied under orders of the master of a chartered vessel, but the bills therefor were rendered to the New York company, which, when the supplies were made owed nothing for the hire of the vessels. The coals were not required in the interest of the owners of the chartered vessels. Proceedings having been taken in admiralty to enforce liens for coal against the vessel,
(1) That as the libellant was chargeable with knowledge of the provisions of the charter party, no lien could be asserted under maritime law for the value of the coal so supplied.
(2) Without deciding whether the statute of New York would be unconstitutional if interpreted as claimed by the libellant, it gives no lien where supplies are furnished to a foreign vessel on the order of the charterer, the furnisher knowing that the charterer does not represent the owner, but, by contract with the owner, has undertaken to furnish such supplies at his own cost.
The case is stated in the opinion.